In Kepler’s Orbit

by Suzanne Calvin

One of the intersesting aspects of this summer’s Spoleto Festival USA in South Carolina is a new production of Philip Glass’s “Kepler” about the famed German┬ámathematician and astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion that now bear his name. Heidi Waleson of “The Wall Street Journal” writes:

“Mr. Glass’s signature repetitive musical style deftly transforms itself to express these contradictions: There are aggressive, pounding assaults, full of brass and percussion; meditative reveries; and rich, ecstatic paeans that accompany both scientific breakthroughs and quasireligious contemplations of the natural world. Conductor John Kennedy built the dramatic shape of the score with assurance; John Hancock brought a resonant baritone and imposing presence to Kepler. Standouts among the scholar soloists were soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird, who negotiated the high tessitura fearlessly, and Matt Boehler, whose opulent bass brought particular humanity to Kepler’s inner doubts. The fine Westminster Choir became a character itself.

“Like Kaye Voyce’s somber school uniforms and academic robes, Andrew Lieberman’s simple, handsome set implied the severity and loneliness of the life of the mind. There was a long library table with chairs, and rows of benches for the students. Upstage, an enormous screen, suggesting the vastness of the universe, dwarfed the people and served as a canvas for lighting designer Aaron Black’s play of colors. It could be bleak and empty, or suffused with saturated purples and reds; an eclipse became the ultimate ecstatic moment. On the stage, the brilliant, otherworldly glare of revelation contrasted with the warm, realistic library light in which the scholars bent over their notebooks and struggled with theories.”

You can access the rest of her review here.

(Image by Celestia/Chris Laurel)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media and PR

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